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The human paperweight
February 5, 2013 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Robert Lenkiewicz was a prolific and prodigiously talented (if unfashionable) painter, a self-styled outsider, and a philanderer rumoured to have slept with more than 3000 women. When he died, the embalmed body of a homeless man named Diogenes was found in a cupboard drawer in his studio.

Lenkiewicz died 10 years ago, and yes, I realise this isn't particularly current (the most recent of the links is from 2009). I was reminded of this story the other day and was surprised to discover it hadn't featured in MF. I find his art compelling - he had a huge talent, I think, and egalitarian instincts, but so much of what he produced was pure kitsch. Some of his early stuff is fantastic.
posted by misterbee (19 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Skeletons go in the closet, corpses in the cupboard.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:16 PM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yes, but you keep Diogenes in a jar with some onions.
posted by LionIndex at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I for one like front page posts that are not so much about the latest happenings, more about this is interesting and here's all about it. I think no need to say sorry for this.)
posted by damehex at 9:56 PM on February 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


Terrific story. What a character! I can't believe I never heard about this at the time. I am glad you posted it or I would probably never have known about this. Lenkiewicz was an interesting guy.

From the second-to-last article: "At one point, the row degenerated into farce when Mr Lenkiewicz lured council officials [who were searching for McKenzie/Diogenes' body after his death] to his studio. They thought they would be shown the body but the artist jumped out of a makeshift coffin himself."

Lord, he must have driven the local officials crazy. And I bet he enjoyed every second of it.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:02 PM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


He reads as a fascinating dude but in the video he seems like a toffee-nosed jackass. I am kind of more fascinated by Ruby Wax, who I also never knew of.
posted by damehex at 10:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am kind of more fascinated by Ruby Wax, who I also never knew of.

Trust me, a little Ruby Wax goes a long way.
posted by misterbee at 10:28 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


He slept with 3000 women?! Between the pursuing, the fucking, and the inevitable drama of sleeping with that many people (not to mention having actual, multiple "serious" relationships with three or four of them, including multiple marriages), how did he find time for anything else?
posted by mosk at 10:37 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


He is survived by one son and one daughter from his three marriages and 13 other children.

Indeed.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 AM on February 6, 2013


He slept with 3000 women?!

He told them he had a very big surprise for them in his drawers.
posted by pracowity at 12:16 AM on February 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


Genghis Khan got around to siring 16 million descendants and managed to conquer the world at the same time.
posted by XMLicious at 12:32 AM on February 6, 2013


Hey, even if you limit yourself to one fuck a day, it takes less than ten years to do so.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:33 AM on February 6, 2013


Diogenes was looking for an honest man. He didn't find one.
posted by benzenedream at 12:36 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The artist's attitude to the homeless man Edwin MacKenzie seems completely objectifying and patronising, and hardly more human than that of the council.
posted by runincircles at 2:36 AM on February 6, 2013


Mr Lenkiewicz retorted [in response to authorities accusing him of a lack of reverence for the deceased]: "Diogenes would have smiled at how much more concern there has been for his death than he received alive."

This is, of course, a very valid point, and the sort of point that frequently trips up stuffed-shirts.
posted by Goofyy at 4:00 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is, of course, a very valid point, and the sort of point that frequently trips up stuffed-shirts.

We can applaud the rhetorical point-scoring, but we can also acknowledge that an embalmed body (which I really hope was done by a professional, not a dilettante artist) may be a particular public-health hazard to keep in one's home.
posted by psoas at 4:34 AM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really? 15 comments in and no barrel jokes?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:26 AM on February 6, 2013


It was a jar, not a barrel.

Also, nobody gave this Diogenes a stick to chase animals away from his corpse, which I think was a signal omission.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:01 PM on February 6, 2013


Sidhedevil: which I think was a signal omission.
Singularly so.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:42 PM on February 6, 2013


"Diogenes would have smiled at how much more concern there has been for his death than he received alive."

This really got me.
posted by pd0658a at 10:13 AM on February 7, 2013


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